Monday, January 23, 2017

Botanical Dyes




Last summer I finally played with dyes from plant materials, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I bought an inexpensive ball of white wool yarn to experiment with. After looking at a few sites on the internet, I gathered up some plants, fruits and even beans that are shown to make dye colors. First I prepared the wool by scouring it which is just soaking it in soapy water and then rinsing. Then the yarn has to be soaked in a mordant. It can be alum, cream of tarter, or copper. I chose alum for the first round. I prepared the dye stuff by boiling and straining it and then in goes the wool. I wasn't very careful about measuring, but I did keep a record of what I got. Pretty colors! I especially liked the colors from the red raspberries and black beans.

Later I wanted to dye enough yarn to knit a hat. I used the black bean water again only this time I used cream of tarter for the mordant. Guess what? Instead of a pretty green I got this soft gray blue. Still very nice and it made a beautiful color for the ombre hat. I am definitely doing more of this next summer. I even got seeds for a few traditional dye plants such as woad and weld. They get a little more complicated to extract the dye, but I'm going to give it a try! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Memories















Long time, no see! I can't believe it's been so long since I've been here. The last couple of months have been very stressful, starting with my having a bad case of the flu that kept me in bed for almost two weeks. Then the worst, our middle son Andrew had a major seizure. He was in and out of the hospital for a month while they got his meds right. Thankfully, he is doing well now and we had a wonderful Christmas with all of our boys and the grandkids. Little Trixie is 8 months now and couldn't be cuter! I love them all so much!

 I have many plans for 2017 and one is to keep up this neglected blog. I wish all of you a very happy new year! Let's make it a good one!!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Catching Up and Some Fall Decor

I know, I have been a very bad blogger! It's not that I haven't had anything to blog about or that I've been too busy. I guess you could say I've been lazy! Well, I'm not really lazy, as you will see.

August and September went by so fast. We spent a lot of time with family and working around the house and yard. Oh, and going to the beach a few times. (I have to do that for my sanity:)


The twins had their 2nd birthday. They had a wonderful party with family and friends. I got them the cutest animal backpacks which were quite a hit. They kept putting them on and taking them off. I couldn't get very good pictures. They are always on the go and they could hardly sit still for this one!


Here is Beatrix at the party. She was 4 months old here and kept everyone entertained with her cute smiles. It's so fun to have a little girl in the family!







Justin was here almost every weekend in August. He has been going through a rough patch and just needed some love and support from his mom and dad and brothers. (The boys are all very close.) Here he is with his sweet girlfriend Kelly. We enjoyed having him and I spoiled him with some of his favorite foods:)


Tad started kindergarten this year but we still take him one afternoon a week and do something fun together. Until we closed the pool, that was all he wanted to do! We went to a pumpkin patch, an apple farm and hiking at state parks. We have so much fun with him!

I have been making gifts for Christmas, quilting, working in the yard, and decorating for fall. I decided to paint the dining chairs white after 25 years of oak and that has been a big job. I really hate painting, but you wouldn't know it as I have been painting many items around the house. If it stands still I'll paint it!







This is the hutch that got a paint job this summer and is now decked out in fall colors. I like that things show up better with the lighter background. And you can see the newest member of our family, Jesse. He is such a good kitty and very affectionate. The only thing is I can't do any knitting unless I go outside!






We finally entered the 21st century and got rid of our big, old TV and cabinet and replace it with a flat screen and electric fireplace. Another fun spot to decorate!

I'm loving these signs that are popping up everywhere!

I have also really gotten back into cross stitch. I blame it on certain people on IG (Carol, I'm talking about you. LOL:) I'm really having fun getting new ideas for how to display them and working them into my seasonal decor.



I have since added more pumpkins and a few Halloween items around. I just love this time of year!

I know this has been a photo heavy post, but I have one more of our sweet little Trixie:






Happy Fall everyone!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tomato Season




What do you do when you have a million tomatoes? Well, you eat tomatoes at every meal and then you make sauce. We have had this handy dandy press for about 30 years and it does a good job of skinning and getting the seeds out. I then cooked the sauce down until it was good and thick, and packed it up in freezer containers. Now we have sauce for soups and spaghetti.


In April we went down to visit our son in Louisville and took a short side trip to a favorite herb farm in southern Indiana, Stream Cliff. The gardens weren't doing anything of course, but the tea room was very busy. And when we finally got a table we could see why. The food was delicious! I ordered a grilled cheese, tomato and pesto sandwich and it was so good. I knew I had to try and recreate it when the tomatoes were ripe. I think I did a pretty good job. Having good bread that would grill nice and crisp was key. And fresh pesto. It was so good! I want to make it again right now:)

I hope everyone has a great week and gets to enjoy some yummy fresh tomatoes!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Back Home Again


We are back from a wonderfully relaxing vacation to Siesta Key, Florida. We had such a good time. We spent our mornings at the beach, enjoying the warm, clear water, hanging out at the condo in the heat of the afternoon, and then going out for dinner at one of the fun restaurants on the island. I decided not to take my camera and just took a very few cell phone photos.

Some people have asked why we go to Florida in the summer. The answer is simple. We go to be on the beach and play in the water and in the summer we are assured it will be warm! When the kids were small we would go down in January to stay with my in-laws at the condo they rented. It was always hit or miss as to the weather. It's also much more expensive in the winter. Except for the lack of birds (we love to go birding) summer is best for us. And as it turned out, it was cooler and less humid there than it was in Indiana. Go figure!

Before we left we worked hard on the gardens and yard so we would not come back to a jungle. Not!!! It rained at least 3 times while we were gone and everything went wild! And now it's too hot to weed. I tried but I can't be out in this heat for very long, especially working. So I wander around taking pictures and trying not to feel bad about all I want to do. Here are a few:











These lilies are over 6 feet tall!

And now I have to share a couple of grandbaby pics, because well, these kids are so darn cute!

Tad has become a little fish this year!



Jasper

Klaus
Son Eric with Klaus
Trixie is almost 4 months old!
Sorry, I sometimes forgot to wipe the lens - it's so humid! I hope everyone has a wonderful week!